In 1729 Jonathan Swift sarcastically presented a “modest proposal” in which he suggested that to combat the problem of poverty and overpopulation that the children of the poor could be sold for meat to the wealthiest of Englishmen, thus helping to provide the poor with a lucrative source of income and reduce the burden of the lower class. Perhaps his was the more sane suggestion.
Last week conversations erupted in regard to tiny little Amelia Rivera and her treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Amelia is nearly three-years-old and has a lower than average IQ and some developmental delay. She also has a rare condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS) that will soon require a kidney transplant. The entire Rivera family is eager to find a donor within their family in hopes of helping their little gift have a long and happy life. Yet tears still streamed from shocked faces as her parents talked with her doctor.
The sobs and jaw on the floor is in response to what the doctor just said. Apparently little Mia is not eligible for a transplant because she is too stupid. The doctor said it almost as delicately, suggesting that mental retardation excludes her from the transplant surgery, even if a donor is found within the family. The social worker seated next to the nephrologist suggested that with a life-long regiment of taking anti-rejection drugs, they cannot trust Mia to be able to care for herself as the reason to justify condemning her to death. The hospital has the resources to save Mia’s life, but they would rather see her die. Read more about this conversation.
What a year! With all the joys that come with the birth of my son and the trials regarding his health this year, I am so thankful for the way that God has shown me his grace in the books that I have had the privilege of reading either that were sent to me for review, given as gifts, or ones that have been sitting on the shelf for some time. I am constantly surprised at how God show himself to me through the books that he offers to me just when I need them.
Of the 53 books I have read this year, I wanted to share the ones that have meant the most to me. Perhaps they would make great Christmas gifts for people in your life or you may find that they mean something to you as they did for me.
Here, then, are my top 3 picks of the year, followed by some honorable mentions:
Holiness by Grace
by Brian Chapell
This was a fantastic book! I read this in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit when my son was under sedation for days and on full ventilation after his trachostemy surgery. Dr. Chapell tells a moving story about a mother whose child turned blue during the baby’s first feeding after birth. It was a great comfort to me in a time where I was completely helpless to do anything for my son, just as each of us are helpless to do anything that is truly pleasing to God, apart from the finished work of Christ. Holiness by Grace is about how not only are we saved by grace, but we are perfected and sanctified by Christ’s work on our behalf.
Click here for full review.
A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer by John Piper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Have you ever looked for a book on Christian fasting? A dear friend of my (unknowingly) put me to the challenge of finding a book on fasting that is biblically strong and meaningful. There are so many out there, but unfortunately most are anywhere from a charismatic “feel-good” perspective to a Osteen-esque “God will give you everything you want if you just fast the right way” angle.
I had nearly given up my search when I happened across this book by John Piper. From the very first line Piper showed that he understood my quest: “Beware of books on fasting.” And beware you should, even of this one.
Jesus, the Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to be Saved? by John Piper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Love seems to be quite the unusual issue for debate. However, it seems to be the core issue of so much of how we treat theological issues. From Rob Bell’s Love Wins to evangelistic methods of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, the way we are called to love one another as Christians has many manifestations and implications.
In his book Jesus: The Only Way to God, John Piper begins with this assumption: we must define the way we love as Christians by how the Bible defines it. Afterall, if we are to believe that “God is love,” it would stand to reason that the testimony of Scripture would tell us how God’s actions spell out that love to the world.
Highlights from my twitter feed from the past seven days:
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